Revenue grows at National Express despite UK bus strikes

National Express has reported revenues of £774.4m in its first quarter, a 17% increase on 2022.

The transport operator recently tackled a six-day long UK bus strike, eventually agreeing a 16.2% pay rise as well as improvements to the drivers’ accident pay and hourly rates for working over the Christmas holidays.

It said whilst it was impacted by the strikes and reached a pay settlement that was “higher than expected” National Express is working with Transport for West Midlands to mitigate cost increases.

The group’s coach revenue also increased by 87% on last year, revealing its recovery from the Covid related network that was shutdown and the impact of rail strikes.

Part of its £150m investment into 300 UK-made zero emission buses announced earlier this year, the West Midlands bus operator has also ordered 170 fully electric buses, to be delivered by the end of 2024.

The new British buses, built in Falkirk by Alexander Dennis (AD) on a BYD chassis, will help establish Coventry as the country’s first All-Electric Bus City by 2025.

Ignacio Garat, Group Chief Executive, said: “I am pleased to report another quarter of progress at National Express with Group revenues in-line with expectations, albeit affected by the bus driver strike in the UK, and recognising that the most significant trading periods for our US School Bus and UK and Spanish coach operations still lie ahead.

“Given ongoing industry and economic uncertainties, we have launched a wide-ranging productivity improvement and cost-reduction programme that will start to deliver benefits in the second half of this year.

“That initiative will also help to ensure we deploy the right resource most efficiently across the business and capitalise on the significant opportunities for growth that we face.”